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15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Alaska has been one place we have always wanted to visit and a cruise seemed the best introduction. The only problem was we didn't want to be on a big ship. Searching the internet led us to Un-Cruise. The Safari Endeavour was ... Read More
Alaska has been one place we have always wanted to visit and a cruise seemed the best introduction. The only problem was we didn't want to be on a big ship. Searching the internet led us to Un-Cruise. The Safari Endeavour was heading for it's summer playground of Alaska from Baja and we picked it up in Seattle. We started at a reception centre in the Crowne Plaza and made our way to the ship via a short city tour on a coach. At dock side the owner welcomed us on board. We were photographed before being shown by a member of the crew to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting. Cabin 303 was towards the front of the ship on the 300 deck. We wanted to be able to step out onto the deck straight from our cabin and the 300 deck is ideal for this. I've always been amazed at how much room they find in these cabins. The two single beds had plenty of storage under although one appeared slightly lower than the other. One full length and two half length wardrobes plus 6 large draws took all our clothes with ease. The desk was handy for odds and ends. Coat hooks took the waterproofs and dressing gowns. The bathroom was cosy. I'm not small and once I became custom with the shower curtain all worked out pretty well. Towels, soap and shampoo are provided but there isn't a problem on environmental grounds for using your own. The tap water is drinkable as the Safari Endeavour has it's own water producing system. It can make 500 gallons of fresh water every hour! Introductions by the owner, captain and other department staff were done in the lounge. Being the start of the summer season for the ship we only had 32 passengers, a ratio of 1:1 with the crew. We were going to be spoilt! Before we set sail we had an abandon ship drill. The great thing about Un-Cruise is there isn't a dress code, except when doing water based activities when life jackets are a must. We were gently reminded the cruise was Un-Cruise Adventures and one aim of the crew was to get you off the ship at every possible opportunity. I might add at this stage the crew were made up of 3 different departments: The Ship's Crew consisted of the Captain, his Mates, engineers and deck hands. They drove the ship, kept it going and made sure everything bolted down was ship shape. They also drove the skiffs and zodiacs for off ship excursions. The next section were the 'Hotel' staff. The cooks, bar staff, waiters and cleaners, the latter being the same. Lastly there were the Expedition staff. This group had the job of keeping us entertained, on our toes and off the boat! I would add to this group the 3 fitness instructors who also gave the complimentary massages at the end of our first week. The ship can hold 84 passengers. For the first 6 nights we had only 32. The last 7 nights we gained another 30 or so. Naturally we noticed the difference but we never felt crowded. The lounge can hold the full amount of passengers as can the dining room (one sitting per meal) The other public areas like the decks rarely felt crowded. What was nice was the crew also joined in watching whales etc. I'm told they hold early morning yoga lessons and afternoon stretching sessions. I must have missed those... Whilst in US waters we were able to get off the boat and explore places very few go to. Double man kayaks, paddle boards and skiffs are used most of these days. Bush hikes also are led by the expedition staff. Lessons are given on using the kayaks and some like my better half were taken out on one with a staff member. My back doesn't allow me to use a kayak and I found the skiffs restricting my photographic needs. I mentioned this to the 3rd mate when he asked me how things were going. Within minutes he invited me onto a zodiac for an hour exploring the bay we had stopped at! Port of calls included Friday Harbor were we had a 1/2 day to explore and visit the whale museum (included), Ketchikan (full day) were a local gave us a tour of the old town (included) and we picked up extra passengers, Wrangell (morning) where we were given a tour of the local chief's lodge (included). The hotel staff looked after us so well. Within a day they were all calling us by name and had started to learn our likes and dislikes when it came to food. Generally the food was very good but we do prefer simple fair. Breakfast might have a special omelette etc but bacon, sausages, egg and hash browns were also on offer as was cereals and oats. Early risers also had a continental style affair available in the lounge at 6:30. Some availed themselves of both. During the trip my wife celebrated her birthday for which a cake and song was given at dinner. The following day was our 35th wedding anniversary and a small treat was also cooked up by the galley staff. Lunch was generally one option other than a vegetarian version. Often we would just ask for a sandwich which wasn't a problem. Dinner had a meat, fish or vegetarian option. Fine wines are served with meals and all drinks are included with this cruise. A pity we don't/can't drink... After dinner one of the Expedition staff would give a short talk on their specialist subject. I stopped by for the knots demo and sky at night but the urge to be on deck watching for wildlife won me over. I think later in the season I wouldn't get any sleep as I tried to be on deck during all daylight hours. This may have been a little different if we had a typical Alaskan shower. The thing is we only had one time when we got wet during an off boat excursion. I don't think I can describe or give justice to the scenery we saw. We did see a brown bear and a black bear but it was a little early in the season for them. Some saw orcas but I missed them but humpback whales were plenty and so were bald eagles. Sea otters, porpoises and other wildlife and birds were also snapped. I can only finish with a short appraisal of our final full day: We woke up at about 6am to find ourselves slowly making our way into Endicott Arm towards Dawes glacier. We waived between growlers (small icebergs) until we could see the end of the glacier about a mile away. Breakfast then out to listen to the glacier creak and explode as the force of nature pushed it towards us. In turn we climbed onto the zodiacs and made our way through the floating ice towards the wall of blue. We kept to about 1/4 mile away but calving ice still made the zodiac rise and fall with the waves. Hot chocolate was served. Once all were back on board the ship retreated to a small side bay where passengers and crew were invited to take a Polar Bear Plunge. A good many jumped in, I chose to take photos. After that some went out in kayaks and paddle boards and I will confirm some came back with fresh ice for their drinks. By early evening we made our way out of Endicott Arm into Stephens Passage. Here we encountered so many humpbacks. I must have spent 4 hours snapping away. By 10pm I thought I'd better get some sleep. At 11pm a tannoy announcement stated the Aurora Borealis had made an appearance. The deck filled with dressing gown clad passengers and crew. As it disappeared porpoise started to dance at the bow of the ship. It was a perfect way to finish what had been a perfect Un-Cruise. Read Less
Safari Endeavour Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.5
Family 4.0 4.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.8
Enrichment 4.0 4.8
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 4.6

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